Perhaps, it is when we are children and we fall down and cry and are told: “Get up. That didn’t hurt ” that we begin to doubt our internal information. Perhaps, it is when our first love, the one on whom we have hung all our young hopes, breaks our heart saying: “you over-reacted” to his fling with a best friend that we begin to tell that little barometer inside us that it is inaccurate and even stupid. Perhaps, by the first time he hits you and then carefully, lovingly coaches you on how to truly understand that it was completely your fault, it has become too late to listen to your small inner gauge of what is, and what is not OK. The inner dialog is rewritten; and the last time he hit you, you would have been terrified if he had not.
The villains on the TV always cackle that finally their evil dominion will cover the earth, but you know that the real demons never thought that way. Hitler and Somoza and the Khmer Rouge have always believed that their work was beneficial and served the greater good. In the quiet mornings with coffee, did they hear an inner voice tell them otherwise? Did they pause? When they spoke their words filled with hate and dying, the people who listened found new voices for their souls and loved their leaders for providing them. Those leaders spoke, inspiring a loyalty that only soul recognition can, like the faith in the man who hurts you. He has taught your inner voice the words to his song. And the people love to sing.
Perhaps we doubt the strength of our internal voice. Perhaps the reason that we admire the Victor Frankels and Marting Luther Kings as much as we do is not because they merely survived, but because they remained – in the whisper within them – honest. Perhaps, when we hear words filled with fear and condemnation spoken about the poor, the homeless and the drug junkies, we pause with our coffee. What song has the pregnant mother smoking crack learned to sing? What sings the twelve year-old son’s voice when he shoots his playmate at school? What does my voice murmur if I allow the hate for these smothered voices to stifle my own? If I hate those with cut vocal cords for not singing my song? Whisper: “No”
Perhaps, if we raise our children to listen intuitively to the voices within themselves and respectfully to the voices within others, fewer mouths will be gagged. Perhaps, if we listen with compassion to the voice of the Senator who says “cut their funding” about those with silenced songs, we can hear the fear and uncomprehending breathing beneath his hate. And then, perhaps, to ourselves, to our children, and in a small, clear voice aloud, whisper: “No.”